Singapore man charged with illegal exports to Iran

AP News
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Posted: Apr 04, 2016 9:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Singapore man accused of helping to export technology to Iran that was later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices has been extradited to the United States to face charges, the Justice Department said Monday.

Lim Yong Nam, who is also known as Steven Lim, had been detained in Indonesia for the last year and a half. Prosecutors said he's been brought to Washington's federal court, where the 42-year-old was indicted in 2010 on charges including smuggling, illegal export and making false statements to the government.

Lim and several other defendants are charged with helping export to Iran in 2007 and 2008 thousands of radio frequency modules that were purchased from an unnamed Minnesota company, and with lying to the U.S. government by saying that Singapore was the end destination of the goods. In reality, prosecutors say, the modules were exported to Iran through Singapore.

Lim told U.S. officials he was unaware of restrictions on U.S. exports to Iran, even though he had actually contacted a co-defendant "no less than six times" to discuss the prohibitions and prosecutions arising from the acts, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said at least 16 of the modules, which have a range of commercial applications, were later found by coalition forces as part of unexploded IEDs in Iraq. The indictment describes IEDs as the number one threat to American troops in Iraq and says they caused about 60 percent of American combat casualties in Iraq between 2001 and 2007.

"The illegal export of restricted U.S. technology is extremely harmful to our national security," Michael Steinbach, the executive assistant director of the FBI's national security branch, said in a statement accompanying the indictment. "In this case the technology had lethal applications and was used in improvised explosive devices in Iraq, which endangered U.S. and coalition forces."

Court records show Lim entered a not guilty plea and was ordered held without bond Monday at his first court appearance.

Defense lawyer Shanlon Wu said Lim takes the allegations against him "very seriously."

"He is anxious to resolve the matter and put it behind him," Wu said.

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